The Harrogate show was the first exhibition for Clarion Events, a major international business with a portfolio of events and media brands since Covid hit the UK.
Moreover, it was the first significant event in the country since the start of the pandemic.
It was selected as a government pilot in summer 2021 to help demonstrate that business events could still run safely. The team was thrilled with the event's success, which attracted more than 10,000 visitors to the town across the four-day show.
Zoe Bonser, Portfolio Director for the retail division at Clarion Events, said: “It was such an amazing event with a special feel to it. People were just so excited to be in Harrogate after not being able to see each other for such a long time.
"It was significant not just as a pilot event with support from the government, but because it was our 60th anniversary – a longevity that demonstrates just how important the show is to the retail industry.”
Paula Lorimer, Director at Harrogate Convention Centre, said: “We were proud to host the first government pilot trade show for our industry and be recognised as a leader in our sector with such a flagship event.
"The Home and Gift Buyers’ Festival is an anchor in our annual exhibition’s calendar, and one of a number of major shows returning year-on-year to our venue – these large-scale exhibitions are vital in driving the wider local economy.
"We look forward to once more giving delegates a very warm welcome this summer.”
The festival will return for four days from July 17 to 20, with more content and interactivity on the show floor, including bespoke marquees to showcase the very best selection of design-led brands and products.
Zoe said: “We know Harrogate is always a draw but we want people to stay longer, engage and spend more.”
This year’s event welcomes more than 800 brands, made up of a mix of new names and firm favourites.
Despite the challenges bricks and mortar retailers and the supply chain have faced due to Covid, Zoe said there was now light at the end of the tunnel: “It’s been an unprecedented time for the sector.
"Equally, it’s meant lots of exciting opportunities, with new communities created, new products designed, new ways of working and more immersive retail pop-up shops.
"People in this sector are very entrepreneurial and you can see there’s been a lot of changes and adjustments.”
The longevity of the event is intrinsic to Harrogate as a destination, with the show contract bringing in a projected economic impact of £750,000.
Zoe said: “It doesn’t feel like a traditional trade show, people genuinely love this event and often bring family and make a week of it.
"Harrogate is a lovely spa town with amazing restaurants and lovely walks, so I think the location is really important.”
She added: “The fact that this event is going from strength to strength is thanks to its strong heritage.
"There’s a huge affinity for the event. It has stood the test of time because it’s a hugely enjoyable and social event.
"It really is a special event and one that everyone looks forward to and have done for the last 60 years, so we’re obviously doing something right.”